Writing and Revising the Conclusion

Learning Objectives

Outline strategies to write and revise a strong conclusion.

Muzoon Almellehan speakingBy this point, your conclusion should have a review of your main points, a restatement of the thesis, and a lasting thought. A clever conclusion, however, will successfully crystallize the speech and leave the audience with motivation and inspiration to incorporate that speech into their life.

The next step is now to ensure that your conclusion is as strong as it can be by carefully writing and revising it.

Question #1: How long is my conclusion? Begin by ensuring that your conclusion is no longer than 5–10% of your total speech. That means that in a five-minute speech, your conclusion will last between 15 and 30 seconds. In a ten-minute speech, your conclusion will last between 30 and 60 seconds.

Question #2: Have I included any new ideas in my conclusion? This is NOT the place for new ideas. If you have an important idea that was not discussed in your speech, decide which main point it supports and put it there.

Question #3: How easy is it to recall my review? Review in the same order that each main point was presented and use the same names introduced in your introduction.

Question #4: Is the thesis of the speech clearly articulated? Since time has passed since the audience first heard it, it is helpful to use the exact same language you used for your thesis in the introduction.

Question #5: Have I linked back to my attention-getting device? A good speaker will leverage the power of the primary recency phenomenon by referencing the attention getting device in the conclusion. For example, the speaker could reference the protagonist from an anecdote, revisit the hypothetical scenario or current event, ask the rhetorical question again, and suggest how to view it in light of what the audience has learned from the speech. These links can reinforce a sense of familiarity in your audience for both the speaker and the speech.

Question #6: How effective is my lasting thought? While a lower order concluding device may be sufficient, using a higher order device like a call to action or visualizing the future will relate more to your audience, and thus have a stronger impact.

Question #7: How well can I deliver my conclusion? Since your conclusion is the shortest part of your speech, yet a very important one, it may be helpful to memorize it. You will want to ensure that you are maintaining eye contact and speaking emphatically, which means that you will want to avoid reading or glancing at your notecards.

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